"Pediatric Thyroid Cancer after the Fukushima Accident"
Professor, Graduate School of
Environmental and Life Science, Okayama University
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation
Almost five years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, attention is turning to the possible long-term health effects radiation exposure has had on local people, particularly children.
A large-scale thyroid ultrasound screening examination is underway in Fukushima Prefecture, covering about 370,000 children who were 18 or younger at the time of the accident.
Despite evidence of much higher rates of juvenile thyroid cancer in the prefecture compared with the pre-accident incidence rate, local medical authorities and the central government claim that the Fukushima disaster is not the cause.
They point to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in the immediate aftermath, and the ban on the sale of locally produced milk and other produce. The authorities, backed by prominent international experts, claim the increased rate of thyroid cancer is due to the highly sensitive ultrasound equipment being used to test Fukushima children.
But in a significant challenge to that thesis, Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, believes the excess occurrence of juvenile thyroid cancer is not due merely to the screening effect, but is the consequence of exposure to radiation.
Tsuda, whose study appears in this month's Epidemiology, the journal of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology, will come to the Club on 8 October to explain his findings and take questions.
An expert in epidemiology and environmental medicine, Tsuda has devoted much of his career to the study of health and environmental pollution cases, including Minamata disease, air pollution in Nishi-Yodogawa, Osaka, and the recognition of lung cancer in pneumoconiosis patients as an occupational disease.
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